2005.02.10 01:33 PM

Alpha Bullets, Part II

While reducing inbox overload today I bumped into an old message from my pal Darnley Bynoe wherein he submitted a replacement for my earlier VB/VBA function to convert numbers into their corresponding alpha bullets (you might recall he helped clean up that version, too).

Darnley's replacement uses recursion to eliminate the arbitrary limit of 702 (i.e., 26 * 27 = "ZZ") I originally placed on the routine for simplicity (and practicality).

This is so much cleaner than the original. Thanks, Darnley!

Public Function GetAlphaBullet(ByVal Index As Long) As String


  If Index < 1 Then Exit Function
  GetAlphaBullet = GetAlphaBullet(Fix((Index - 1) / 26)) & Mid$(LETTERS, ((Index - 1) Mod 26) + 1, 1)

End Function

The Index parameter was changed to a Long to accommodate the increased size (which is now only limited by the environment's stack). Using the maximum VB/VBA Long value of 2,147,483,647 gets us an alpha bullet of "FXSHRXW". Cool.

Darnley's code actually included support for negatives, too, but I pulled it for simplicity (and, again, practicality). If you want to see it, though, just let me know.


You don't really need recursion here - it just adds overhead and slows things down. Just use a simple Do loop.

Public Function GetAlphaBulletNoRecursion(ByVal Index As Long) As String

Dim strTemp As String

Do While Index > 0
strTemp = Mid$(LETTERS, (Index - 1) Mod 26 + 1, 1) & strTemp
Index = Index \ 26
GetAlphaBulletNoRecursion = strTemp

End Function

Helen | 2005.02.11 04:33 AM

Hi Helen,

You're right, if it can be recursed, it can be looped. We just thought the recursion was cleaner as it requires no local state variables.

And you're also right about performance. The loop is about 30% faster on my machine (uncompiled). But even at its slower pace, the recursive routine can execute over 250,000 times a second, which is probably fast enough for database report bullets.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I really appreciate it.

ewbi.develops | 2005.02.11 08:58 AM


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